Congratulations to Elena Ruehr!!! She just received a Guggenheim Fellowship to write an opera with librettist Gretchen Henderson for Roomful of Teeth, an eight voice ensemble that she, MIT Music and Theater Arts, and CAST, Center for Art, Science and Technology will be hosting as Visiting Artists in residence at MIT in the fall.
Elena Ruehr is a Lecturer in Music at MIT, where she won the Baker Undergraduate Teaching Award and has taught for 21 years, Dr. Elena Ruehr was the Walter Jackson Bate Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute (2007-2008) and composer in residence with the Boston Modern Orchestra (2000-2005).
She has four commercially released solo CDs. Her complete choral and orchestral works, Averno, (Trinity Church, Avie Records, 2012) called “sumptuously scored and full of soaring melodies and piquant harmonies” by The New York Times; How She Danced: String Quartets of Elena Ruehr, described by Gramophone Magazine as “unspeakably gorgeous”; the opera Toussaint Before the Spirits (Opera Boston, Arsis, 2005) given a glowing review in Opera News that labeled Ruehr as “a composer to watch”; and her chamber music CD, Jane Wang considers the dragonfly (Albany, 2009) which has received national radio play. Ruehr’s complete orchestral works recorded this season with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP Sound) will be released in 2014. It features the cello concerto, Cloud Atlas, with Jennifer Kloetzel as soloist. Ruehr also has single tracks on a number of CDs, including a string orchestra piece, Shimmer, with the Metamorphosen Chamber Ensemble (Albany, 1999). In addition to Ruehr’s commercially released CDs, two of her film scores are available on DVD: the Manhattan Trade School for Girls (named one of the 6 best DVDs of the year by TIME Magazine, 2008) and Deschutes Dritwood (2011), both released by the National Film Preservation Foundation.
Ruehr has had numerous and steady commissions since 1995, including TenFourteen and the San Francisco Chamber Music Players (it’s about time, expected 2014), the Cypress String Quartet (String Quartets #4 in 2005, #5 in 2009, and #6 in 2012) the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (Ladder to the Moon in 2003, Toussaint Before the Spirits in 2003, and Summer Days in 2013). Her cello concerto, Cloud Atlas, was commissioned by the San Jose Chamber Orchestra and premiered in 2012. Other commissioning groups include: the Metamorphosen Chamber Ensemble, Lorelai and the Radcliffe Chorus, The Rockport Chamber Music Society, The Providence Singers, the Klein International String Competition, the Washington Chorus, Plymouth Music Minneapolis, MIT, the North Carolina Chamber Music Festival, and Dinsoaur Annex.
Ruehr’s work has been performed at the Kennedy Center, Jordan Hall, Symphony Hall, Minneapolis and by the Trinity Church and the Washington Chorus, among many others. The Biava, Borremeo, Cypress, Lark, Shanghai, and ROCO string quartets have regularly performed her music internationally, as well as baritone Stephen Salters and violinist Irina Muresanu.
Known for her collaborations with living writers, including Elizabeth Alexander, Margaret Atwood, Brendan Galvin, Louise Gluck, and Adrienne Rich, she has written a number of songs and choral works, three of which are featured on her CD Averno (Avie). A collaboration with novelist Madison Smart Bell and poet Elizabeth Spires, in conjunction with choreographer Nicola Hawkins, led to her opera, Toussaint Before the Spirits, featuring Stephen Salters in the title role in the production by Opera Boston in 2004.